Known as Nashville Arena upon its inception, Bridgestone Arena's 1993 mission statement was "to provide a state-of-the-art facility that can maximize utilization by hosting a full spectrum of events appealing to all constituencies in the Nashville area. The arena should help stimulate growth and enhance development in downtown Nashville, provide an attractive venue for entertainment, sports and learning, instill a renewed sense of pride in the city, and serve as a landmark for the image and reputation of Nashville as a premier place to live, visit, work and enjoy."
Twenty years later, the building has helped stimulate growth more than those who developed the arena could have ever imagined. Not only is Bridgestone Arena one of the top-five venues in the nation for entertainment, it's home to one of the NHL's top Stanley Cup contenders.
The building will celebrate its 20th Anniversary this year during a matchup against the New York Rangers on Saturday, December 17, taking place two decades after its opening event, Amy Grant's memorable concerts on December 16 and 17, 1996. Since that first iconic concert run all the way through today, more than 20 million fans have visited Bridgestone Arena to watch history unfold and to create lasting memories.
Leading up to the 20th anniversary celebration, NashvillePredators.com will take a look back at the greatest moments in Arena history, year-by-year, starting today with the year 1996.
On December 15, 1996, more than 26,000 people gathered at the then-named Nashville Arena to get a look at the city's newest venue. Mayor Phil Bredesen greeted the guests as they were treated to a tour of the 20,000-seat arena.
Later that week, back-to-back nights of Amy Grant's Country Christmas served as the venue's debut event with guest appearances by Vince Gill, Cece Winans, Michael W. Smith and Gary Chapman.
Remember When: 1996
Billboard Hot 100 Top Song: "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" - Los Del Rio
Top Grossing Movie: Independence Day
Top Rated TV Show: ER